South Africa’s finance minister on addressing the problems of apartheid

Technology Eye | May. 03, 2017

Malusi Gigaba, South Africa’s recently appointed finance minister, has promised to “radically transform” his country’s economy to share its wealth more broadly. Some 26 years after the end of apartheid, stubborn racial and economic divisions remain in Africa’s biggest economy.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 , the minister elaborated on what he meant by transformation, and why change was overdue.

“We have not paid enough attention to developing a productive economy in the township and rural areas,” he said. “The special problems of the apartheid system have not been addressed sufficiently.” In this context, he said, “You must understand the impatience for speedy change, for significant change.”

However, change did not have to mean further threatening a meagre growth rate in an economy that is still reeling from a recent ratings downgrade of its debt.

The minister said he would focus on “growing the economy and implementing transformation at the same time.”

“Whether you call it radical transformation or inclusive growth, it’s implementing structural reforms in the economy that will change the structure of production, industrialising the economy, creating a manufacturing base, changing ownership patterns. We cannot grow the economy on the basis of a large black community that remains without assets to consume or invest in.”

These policies would not mean a spending spree, Minister Gigaba said.

“We cannot spend money we don’t have. We need to manage our fiscas in a prudent manner. Our spending must be aligned with growth patterns in our economy.”

You can watch the full session here.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum

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